Talk about ‘plastic fans’ is a grumble that can often be heard among dedicated football supporters - and now Manchester City have teamed up with a global brewing giant to rid the game of them.
However, that does not mean that there will be tests of loyalty or quizzes about the depth of someone’s affinity with the club on entry to the Etihad Stadium.
Instead the No Plastic Fans Here campaign is an eco drive in which leading clubs including City have teamed up with Heineken UK to promote sustainability and cutting down the amount of single-use plastic on matchdays.
A sculptor has created the ‘plastic fans’ by reusing waste objects and they will be on display this weekend when City clash with Chelsea to highlight the efforts to go green.
What are the ‘plastic fans’ and why will they be outside the Etihad Stadium for this weekend’s match?
City are one of two clubs that has signed up for the No Plastic Fans Here drive, with the other being Tottenham Hotspur.
They are trying to “remove fans of plastic from football”, at least in the environmental sense, and encourage fans and the general public to join them on their journey towards having a lighter impact on the planet with their activities.
The campaign has teamed up with renowned sculptor Sarah Turner to create the ‘plastic fans’ and supporters will be able to see them at City’s meeting with Chelsea at the Etihad on Saturday (15 January).
The sculptures will also be on display at Tottenham for the North-London Derby this weekend.
The two life-sized sculptures have been made from recyclable plastic, with over 200 bottle caps, 75 plastic bottles, two abandoned tents, 20 plastic bags and 20 coffee cup lids included.
What has Manchester City been doing on sustainability?
City have removed all single-use plastic from the Etihad Stadium, a move which the club reckons saves more than one million plastic cups and 500,000 bottles per season.
It is also trialling edible coffee cups, increasing vegan food options and switching to compostable packaging.
The club also installed a new pitch that recovers two-thirds of irrigation, of which 70% is captured rainfall. That means the watering of the pitch is entirely done by rainfall, reducing water usage.
City also uses electricity from a certified 100% renewable source with zero carbon dioxide (CO2).
What has been said about the ‘plastic fans’?
Pete Bradshaw, director of sustainability at the club, said: “Manchester City has developed an active agenda for sustainability which seeks to engage fans, community workforce and partners as we work collaboratively on this journey.
“From the investments made in water reuse and energy efficiency to waste management, consumption and transport futures – the Club has a clear set of values and is committed to change that works for the Club, city and region.
“The #NoPlasticFansHere campaign is a positive and engaging initiative that will hopefully resonate with our fans and raise further awareness of the need to reduce waste and pollution across our neighbourhoods, cities, oceans and planet and we hope that lots of our fans take time to visit the sculptures at this weekend’s fixture.“